During our trip we have seen several monuments that show the remains of a small portion of the people killed during this time. The way it is shown does not hide the cruelty that was used to kill the people. All kinds of terrible methods were used, mainly avoiding the need for bullets as these were scarce and not available for these activities
Strangely enough temples were in many cases used as prisons. This made it probably easier to build the memorials as the places were already special in a more positive way.
The photos don't hide the cruelty and some might be shocking. But it is a plain registration of what is part of the history and the way it is presented. In my opinion the best way to deal with and accept what has happened.
The following text is taken from the second of the monuments and for me shows the power of the people to handle the dark period. Not by putting it away but show it, respect what happened but also leave it behind.
The Well of Shadows
In may 1976 the Khmer Rouge seized the Buddhist temple Wat Somrong Knong. Turning it into a prison and the surrounding area into a killing field where 10.008 people were put to death.
The prison warden was Son. Alias Sot, the executioners were Korlot and Plet. In 1977 Yom became the warden under whose administration cannibalism was introduced. Poisonous snakes were used to terrify and kill their prisoners. While others had their kills or chest split open with hoes.
This monument portrays still other tortures used by the Khmer Rouge to subjugate district 41 and region 4.
The full tragedy of Cambodian’s tragedy will never be known. The remains of some of the victims of this genocide may never be recovered , nor their murdereds identified. But the gentle and forgiving Khmer an energetic and optimistic people will now walk confidently through the will of shadows to reclaim their ancient culture and restore this beautiful land, to become again, the legendary paradise of celestial Apsaras.
We took the audio tour to be able to get the impact at our own pace and undisturbed. The stories of people surviving the years make it very impressive. You almost feel what is happening and get more respect for the Khmer knowing that they have closed the period in a peaceful way.
The combination of the dark sky and the sun on the monument symbolises for me the place and the way the Khmer have dealt with it.